Of Mice and Men - Short Answer Questions

Of Mice and Men (1939) movie still. Curley's wife, Mae (Betty Field), lies dead at the unwitting hands of Lennie (Lon Chaney, Jr.).Of Mice and Men (1939) movie still. Curley's wife, Mae (Betty Field), lies dead at the unwitting hands of Lennie (Lon Chaney, Jr.).

  1. What were your first impressions of Lennie and George?  Did they turn out to be correct?  Why or why not?
  2. In the beginning of the story, what kind of animal did Lennie keep accidently killing?  How does that foreshadow later events in the story?
  3. George keeps calling Lennie "crazy" in the story, but what does Steinbeck imply is really going on that makes Lennie forgetful?  
  4. Would you say that there is a kind of manipulation in George and Lennie's relationship?  If so, how?  Is it good or bad?
  5. What dream are George and Lennie working toward? Why do you think it is so important to them?
  6. Why do George and Lennie feel so lucky to have one another?  What kind of life did a ranch hand usually have?
  7. When George said that he and Lennie travelled together and Curley answered, "Oh, so it is that way?" what do you think he was implying (24)?
  8. Why does George say that Curley should watch out if he gets into a fight with Lennie?  Did it turn out to be a valid warning?
  9. What does it mean when the workers say that Curley's wife has "the eye" (26)?  Why do you think that she has "the eye" after only being married for a few weeks?
  10. Why do you think that many men did not travel around together like Lennie and George in the story?  Did it take Lennie needing protection to create such a close friendship?  
  11. How does the fate of Candy's dog end up foreshadowing what will happen to Lennie?  Do you think the situation is the same or different?  Why?
  12. Do you think that it was right for Carlson to pressure Candy into euthanizing his dog?  Why or why not?
  13. Why does Curley get suspicious every time Slim is not with the other men?  Do you think that his suspicions are valid?  Why or why not?
  14. Even if George and Lennie were able to get a piece of land and try to live off of it, do you think they would be successful?  Or, do you think that they need to have structure imposed by someone else? Explain.
  15. What are the similarities between Candy and his dog, other than both being older?  Do you think that Steinbeck did this on purpose?  Explain.
  16. How is Lennie and Crook's conversation ironic? 
  17. When Crooks says that he sees hundreds of men pass through the ranch with the same idea as George and Lennie in their heads, what is he talking about?
  18. What does she mean when Curley's wife says to the men, "You're all scared of each other, that's what. Ever' one of you's scared the rest is goin' to get something on you" (73)?
  19. Why do you think that Lennie hallucinates at the end of the story? What is the significance of the hallucination?

Setting | Character Census | Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts